Facebook suffers global outage

June 19th, 2014
Posted in Monitoring, Industry News, Tech

facebook.com went down for aboutt 15 minutes between 4:00 and 4:15 AM EST. Users trying to connect to the site were seeing an error message "Sorry, something went wrong".  The issue has been confirmed by multiple locations around the world and as far as we can tell all Facebook users were affected.



The Facebook Platform Status showed a sharp increase in API response times for the time of the outage.

Facebook Platform Status

The last information posted by Facebook is

Sitewide issue resolved

Earlier this morning, we experienced an issue that prevented use of the API for a brief period of time. We resolved the issue quickly, and we are now back to 100%. We're sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.

We are awaiting an official statement and more details from Facebook and we will update this post as soon as more information is available.



Websitepulse's 2014 Mother's Day Performance and Uptime Report [INFOGRAPHIC]

June 4th, 2014
Posted in Monitoring

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According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, the total spent for Mother’s Day this year reached $20 billion.

Considering the popularity of this day, and the growing popularity of online shopping, we couldn’t stress more on how important it is for online stores to maintain flawless performance and availability during the weeks prior to Mother’s Day. Just like a bad selection of gifts and high prices could turn visitors away from your website, a slow website, inability to perform an online purchase or website downtime could be just as harmful, sending your potential buyers to competitors’ websites.

As usual, we monitored 12 of the most popular websites for purchasing gifts and flowers for moms. We were specifically observing their uptime and response time as the most important metrics for the reliability of a website.

Response time varied between 1,4 (personalizationmall.com) and 18,4 seconds (giftbasketsplus.com). This means that some of the websites were not able to bear the heavy traffic during a certain period of time. That, on the other hand, could have resulted in disappointed buyers and revenue loss.

At the same time, uptime varied between 100% (gifttree.com, sees.com, proflowers.com, fromyouflowers.com, beyondblossoms.com) and 99.7% (giftbasketsplus.com) which is quite acceptable.

For more details, look at the infographic above or go to websitepulse.com.

Websitepulse 2014 Tax Performance & Uptime Report [INFOGRAPHIC]

April 30th, 2014
Posted in Monitoring

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Tax return season is over and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reported that millions of dollars in fraud were filed this year.

Just days before the April 15 deadline, the IRS started 295 identity theft investigations pushing the total number of active fraud cases to more than 1,800, according to newsnet5.com.

"Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes nationwide, and refund fraud caused by identity theft is one of the biggest challenges facing the IRS," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

Fraud cases increase right before the deadline simply because most people wait until the last minute to file their tax returns online.

Little can be done to avoid identity theft or a fraudulent tax return except being alert and choosing a trustworthy tax return website. On the other hand, tax return websites should be prepared to protect their clients from fraudsters but they should also ensure their websites are up and running 24/7.

Websites are usually likely to experience traffic outages right before the end of the tax return period, disabling customers to save or submit their tax information on time. Disappointed customers would then be highly unlikely to return to the same tax return websites next year.  We couldn’t tell whether there were clients who could not register successfully, but we could tell how each of these websites performed during the monitoring period, as we were reporting their response time and availability on a daily basis. Olt.com, for example, was having great performance and availability until the last day, April 15th, when it experienced traffic overload resulting to the website being unavailable during 7 hours of the monitoring period. The 7 hours of downtime may not be much, but compared to the other websites, it was the highest. The rest of the monitored websites performed quite well, as the majority demonstrated 100% uptime.  As far as the total response time, taxbrain.com scored an average of 22 seconds which again, is not much, but compared to freetaxusa.com with only 2 seconds of load time for the whole monitoring period, would be considered high.

For details, see the infographic above, or see the daily reports.

Test Your Server Against the Heartbleed OpenSSL Vulnerability

April 8th, 2014
Posted in Tools, Tech

A major vulnerability in OpenSSL software was announced late yesterday, impacting all servers having the Heartbeat TLS extension enabled with OpenSSL versions states above.

The "heartbleed" vulnerability, has been already recorded as CVE-2014-0160. Further details can be found at http://heartbleed.com and https://www.openssl.org/news/secadv_20140407.txt.

The bug has already scared a lot of system administrators and site owners, and the one that we've done on WebSitePulse was to release a test against this vulnerability.

So, if you want to check whether your secure server is affected or not, please visit: http://www.websitepulse.com/heartbeat.php

Browser Full Page Test Tool Now Ready for Use

April 3rd, 2014
Posted in Tools

Not long after releasing our latest and most sophisticated monitoring level – the In-Browser Application Monitoring, we are happy to announce that it is now available as a free test tool.

So here’s a brief description of what the In-Browser level of monitoring is all about:

It simulates a real user “browser-like” experience. It is based on the Firefox “GECKO” engine and supports multiple simultaneous connections, JavaScript rendering and page component caching. The benefit is that we are able to detect performance issues connected to the code itself, the images and all other third-party embedded objects.

We developed our In-Browser Application Monitoring service further and created the Browser Full Page test that you can use at any time. This is how its main page looks like:

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To test a website URL, simply enter it in the field, click the Perform Test button and a loading animation will pop up.

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After the test is completed, a result screen will be provided:

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The tested URL and a timestamp of the test are the first things to appear on the page. An initial load screenshot is then provided as well as an option to see what the return load screenshot looks like. This is one of the unique features of the Browser Full Page test. It is initially simulating a first-time user experience and, immediately after that, a second test is performed to simulate a repeated user experience. Screenshots are then made and the collected data is reported.

Next is the WebSitePulse performance grade score that, in this case, is almost perfect – 99/100. Congratulations, Google! An information about the number of requests made and the total page size can be seen next to the score itself. First and return visit times are also displayed below.

Switching our attention to the Request Timeline below, we will notice a breakdown of all page components (3 in this case) and how long it took to load them on both the initial and return load tests. You can easily navigate through the timeline by clicking the Initial Load, Return Load and Both Combined buttons on top of the chart. Clicking the magnifying glass icons on the right will reveal the request and response headers for the selected element.

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Switching to the recommendations screen is easy - simply click the Recommendations button. Having mentioned that Google.com performed pretty well on our test, we can still hint improvements for its performance and responsiveness. Here is what we have to say for that one:

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You can also Tweet and share your results on Facebook or Google+. Or, if you still do not have an account with us, you can click the Start a FREE Trial button and set your site up for monitoring. You will get all of the functionality described above, plus tons more like several different types of alerts, takeover feature, 24/7 e-mail, chat and phone support, 40 locations around the world etc.

So, what is your WebSitePulse score?